Better diet, better skin

Credit: Tom Pennington

Credit: Tom Pennington

Can what you eat help reduce the sign of aging? Apparently so. New research finds that certain foods can help reduce the signs of aging skin, including wrinkles and dryness, according to Environmental Nutrition newsletter.

Try adding these foods for a better complexion.

--Green tea: the polyphenols in green tea may help your skin by offering up protection against UV radiation as well as improving measures of skin quality such as elasticity and dryness. The polyphenols in green tea increase blood flow and oxygen delivery to the skin. Drink two or more cups of green tea daily.

--Sweet potato: Beta carotene-rich foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots and dark leafy greens have been shown to give natural protection against sunburn, which, in turn, may lower signs of photo-aging and skin cancer risk. A 2016 study in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology found that higher intakes of vegetables and fruits can be protective against adult acne.

--Flax: A report in the British Journal of Nutrition found that daily flax consumption can reduce skin reddening and improve skin hydration, which limits roughness and dryness. The abundance of omega-3 fats can help your skin retain moisture. Other omega-3 sources include hemp seeds, chia, walnuts and salmon, sardines or mackerel.

--Kiwi: One kiwi has more than a day's worth of vitamin C. British researchers found that people who took in the most vitamin C had the lowest risk of a wrinkled appearance and skin dryness. Vitamin C plays an important role in the synthesis of collagen, a structural protein responsible for holding the connective tissue in skin together. Vitamin C sources also include oranges, strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli and kale.

--Cocoa: A 2015 Journal of Nutrition study found that the consumption of high amounts of cocoa flavonols can reduce signs of age spots and wrinkles. Flavonols are powerful antioxidants that protect skin against the damaging effects of UV rays. Products with the most flavonols include dark chocolate bars (at least 70 percent cocoa), cacao nibs and non-alkalized cocoa powder.

Q and A 

Q: Should you make food choices based on the glycemic index? 

A: The glycemic index is an unreliable ay to rate carbohydrate-containing foods in terms of their effect on blood sugar, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The GI has been promoted as a tool for healthy eating and serves as the basis of many popular diets. In the study done by researchers at Tufts University, 63 people ate about 3 ounces of white bread after fasting overnight. The researchers then measured their blood sugar levels and calculated the food's GI by a standard formula. This was done six times over 12 weeks. The resulting GIs varied by an average of 25 percent among participants for the same exact food - and by 20 percent in the same individuals. Deviations averaged 15 points (on the 100-point scale) in either direction, in effect putting white bread in all three GI categories (low, medium, high) at various times and thus "demonstrating that the GI is unlikely to be a good approach to guiding food choices," the researchers concluded. - University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter.


Here's a recipe that fits into USDA's My Plate - making half your plate fruits and vegetables, a quarter whole grains and a quarter lean protein. It's from Williams Sonoma "Healthy in a Hurry".

Steak & Arugula Salad with Oranges 

1 pound skirt steak

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

4 tablespoons fresh orange juice

4 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1 clove minced garlic

2 oranges

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 cups baby arugula

4 radishes, trimmed and sliced

Fresh ground pepper to taste

Trim fat from steak and cut into 2 or 3 pieces. In a zippered plastic bag, combine soy sauce, orange juice, 1 tablespoon lime juice, ginger and garlic. Add steak, seal tightly and turn to mix marinade and coat steak. Refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to overnight. Preheat broiler or grill. Remove steak from bag and discard marinade. Place steak on broiler pan or grill. Broil or grill, turning once, for about 8 minutes total for medium-rare. Meanwhile, use a sharp knife, cut a thin slice off both ends of each orange, then cut away peel and bitter white pith, following fruit's curve. Cut orange in half lengthwise, then slice crosswise into half-moons. In a large bowl, mix remaining 3 tablespoons lime juice and olive oil. Add arugula, oranges, and radishes and toss to mix well. Mound on a platter. Carve steak across grain into slices 1/4 inch thick and arrange over salad. Sprinkle with pepper. Serve with a slice of whole grain bread. Serves 4.

Per serving: 340 calories, 24 g protein, 11 g carbohydrate, 22 g fat, 70 mg cholesterol, 2g fiber, 210 mg sodium.